A Rockville, Maryland-based startup bringing AI and computer vision tools to pediatric health received nearly $1 million for R&D in a grant from the National Science Foundation.
The Phase II Small Business Innovation Research award, which is for $982,500, will help Pediametrix as it continues to develop SoftSpot, a digital cranial measurement tool.
PediaMetrix was founded in 2018 by Dr. Fereshteh Aalamifar, who earned her Ph.D. at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, and a group of scientists and entrepreneurs who are alumni of Johns Hopkins, Harvard University and Princeton University.
The SoftSpot product allows for head measurement and monitoring of a newborn. It is designed to enable pediatricians to do quantitative assessment of infants’ cranial conditions at the point of care, Aalamifar said. Currently, pediatricians use a tape measure for the measurement of head circumference only.
SoftSpot is a mobile app that can be used on any smartphone. It allows pediatricians and parents to use the phone’s camera to take a short video, then uses image processing to make specific calculations about the head, and helps the decision making process for next steps.
The company currently has a team of 10, including three full-time employees and a group of contractors. Aalamifar said the funding will help to fund research and development for SoftSpot 2D.
“This R&D funding will help us to scale up and further develop SoftSpot and bring it to the market,” Aalamifar said.
Resources in the D.C. area have contributed to the company’s progress. It’s a graduate of accelerators including Reston, Virginia-based Startups Ignite and Annapolis, Maryland-based FounderTrac. With the latter, it also received $25,000, and additional funding has come via Maryland’s TEDCO Builder Fund and BioHealth Innovation.
The company is based in the Rockville Innovation Center.